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An Introduction to Valparaiso

 

 

Valparaíso is featured among the unusual cities of South America and it is the most unique one in the country of Chile. Curiously, many Chileans used to take the city for granted as they focus on other areas. However, when the city was set aside as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2003, more attention started shifting to the city. One of the special appeals of Valparaíso is its faded grandeur that you can see from the crumbling mansions. There is also a strong Bohemian charm in the city that is almost infectious. Finally, there is an artistic presence that is clearly felt in the city.

Though the poverty level is rather high here, with shantytowns stretching for long distances, there are still many interesting features that make this city special. You will get a unique experience by simply roaming the streets even if you do not go anywhere in particular.

There are different ways that you can use to get to and around the city. Although the city does not have an airport, the Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport, which is in Santiago, is just about one a half hours drive away. There are public bus services just outside the airport's terminal that you can use to go to the city, but not straight away. The bus will take you to Pajaritos just outside Santiago. The bus leaves you on the northern side of the bus station, and you need to cross to the southern section to reach the Bus Platform. You will easily find buses heading to Valparaíso here and you do not have to make to book a ticket early.

You can use Metro Valparaíso train that operates between Viña del Mar and Valparaiso. You have to purchase value cards to use the train because there are no single tickets. The fare is determined by distance and time of the day. The train operates between 6:00 a.m. and 11:30 p.m.

The highway system in Valparaiso is relatively good although you may find it a bit challenging to drive around the city. Expect to pay tolls along the way if you are driving. You may also get to and around the city by boat.

If you would like to make purchases in Valparaiso, do not expect department stores and shopping malls. There are a few large grocery stores, but people generally use smaller shopping stores found in crowded city streets. There are also vendors from whom you can make your purchases. If you want a large shopping area, then you need to go to the eastern side of Avenida Brasil.

Enjoy the traditional cuisine, which is known as "Chorrillana." It is made of a good amount of French fries with steak, eggs, and onions. You may also enjoy fresh sea food at many of the restaurants in different parts of the city. If you enjoy wine, then this is a great place, but understand that you are not allowed to drink in the streets.

 



 

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